Broadband

Gigabit Voucher Scheme for small businesses and resident groups

How to apply

To benefit from the voucher scheme there must be at least one business as well as other residents in your area who also wish to install a gigabit-capable connection.

As part of this group, you are able to combine the values of your vouchers. There is no minimum size for a group project, but at least half of the total value of the vouchers in the project must be for businesses.

Read full terms and conditions for eligibility for the scheme on GOV.UK (link opens in new window)

If you are interested in getting a gigabit-capable connection, you will first need to make enquiries with a registered supplier (link opens in new window).

About the Gigabit Voucher Scheme

The UK now has 95% coverage for superfast broadband with speeds of 24 megabits per second or higher. However, most superfast connections still depend on copper telephone wires, which are limited in the speeds they can support. For the fastest and most reliable broadband, capable of delivering gigabit speeds, a full fibre connection is required.

The gigabit voucher scheme is now available to businesses and residents across Central Bedfordshire, who would like to make their broadband faster.

Full fibre broadband connections are future proof and offer the fastest and most reliable speeds available. This means you will be able to send and receive large files with ease and experience download speeds 20 times faster than the UK average.

Gigabit vouchers can be used by small businesses and the local communities surrounding them to contribute to the installation cost of a gigabit-capable connection.

Businesses can claim up to £3,000 against the cost of connection either individually or as part of a group project. Residents can benefit from the scheme with a voucher worth £500 towards the cost of installing a gigabit-capable full fibre broadband.

Applications for wave one of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme are to end

  • due to the huge popularity of the national Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, government is approaching the end of the first wave of available funding
  • the more recent scheme, which is focused on rural areas, still has plenty of funding available
  • the voucher schemes have contributed towards a stimulation of the telecoms market that has seen many providers announcing their plans to invest in, and build, full fibre networks

Applications for the first wave of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, that launched in March 2018 with £67 million of funding for small to medium-sized businesses and residents in addition to the £200 million allocated to the Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme, are to end.

The second wave, which launched in May 2019, to support connections in rural areas, as part of the £200 million Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme remains open for new applications until 31 March 2021 (or until the funding runs out).

Looking forward, the government has pledged £5 billion of new funding to ensure the hardest to reach parts of the country receive gigabit-capable broadband at the same time as the rest of the UK.

Although the first wave is closing for new applications, service providers have 12 months from the point at which vouchers are issued to complete their build and connect each of the premises that have been issued with a voucher.

The funding from the first wave has been used earlier than anticipated pointing to the success of the demand-led scheme which, as part of the wider LFFN programme, has stimulated interest among service providers to build new fibre for the UK.

At the same time, it has provided a valuable incentive to small/medium businesses and homeowners to upgrade their broadband connection, at little or no cost, for installation of faster, more reliable service.

Small to medium-sized businesses have been able to claim up to £3,000 (this was reduced to £2,500 part-way through the first wave) towards the cost of installation gigabit-capable broadband to their premises whilst homes have been able to claim for £500 per premise, when part of a group scheme. Beneficiaries to the scheme were asked to agree to a 12-month contract with the service provider as part of the scheme’s terms and conditions for speeds that were at least double their original speed provided they met the minimum threshold of 100 megabits per second.

Since March 2019, SMEs and residents in Wales have been able to top-up their vouchers with additional funding from the Welsh Government with up to £5,500 for SMEs and £800 for residents.

During its two years of operation, the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme has registered 701 service providers.

The second wave of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is still available for groups of premises (SMEs and homes) in rural areas to meet the targets set in The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review. The report sets out an ‘outside in’ approach to targeting the hardest-to-reach and rural parts of the country to stimulate UK-wide building of the fibre network.

Visit GOV.UK for full terms and conditions.